Posts Tagged ‘Peryer’


Recently I got around to arranging a photo shoot as I needed a picture to send out with my bio details for work. It’s taken months for me to get around to this as a) I am the least photogenic person in the universe, possibly because b) I hate getting my photo taken.

Anyway a photographer whose work I really like, Ferg Campbell, happens to live locally so he and his is able assistant Paul Le Comte came by and did their best  to capture me on film. I say did THEIR best because I inadvertently did my best to squint, slouch and look angry.

Part of the deal though was to recreate a ‘famous’ New Zealand photograph. I hope that the original photographer takes this as a compliment or at least doesn’t cringe.

Pauline and Florence

Pauline and Florence (2013) Ferg Campbell [click pic for larger image]. Ferg created a B&W version too but I like this one.


Self-portrait with rooster. (1977) Peter Peryer

I love the symbolism that the blurb on the Govett Brewster page attributes to this photo

Self-portrait with Rooster has a brooding anxiety that is offset by a touch of the theatrical. Man and rooster look equally ill at ease. With an injured expression, Peryer clasps the rooster to his chest protectively. Roosters, with their associations of virility and machismo, are usually depicted strutting proudly, displaying glossy plumage. The rooster that Peryer clutches so anxiously seems rather bedraggled. As well as their popular association with male sexual potency, roosters also suggest the Biblical story of St Peter. When Jesus was arrested, St Peter escaped arrest himself by fearfully denying his relationship with Christ :before the cock crowed” as Christ had predicted he would. The two Peters, photographer and saint, are conflated into a tragic-comic figure who stands, back against the wall, as if before a firing squad, glaring anxiously down the camera’s lens.

As for my photo, I am a midwife and I am holding a hen. Hens lay eggs, eggs are fertility symbols. As an aside, Saint Bridget is the patron saint of midwives and poultry farmers (and lots of other stuff). I’ve recently found out that her feast day is my birthday. You know…whatever.

And yes we got a few great shots that I can send out with my work bio, but I am really tempted just to go with the chook photo.

NB – all my best wishes and love to Peter.

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A recent post from Peter Peryer along with my visit to the Wayne Barrar show at DPAG, has got me thinking again about the nature of photography as art.

In my own mind photography is art. Hanging about in a gallery stock room today with Laurence Aberhart and Ben Cauchi works just reiterated this to me. Peryer’s work is certainly art.

So why do I have more trouble in the equally as beautiful photos of Ans Westra and some of  Wayne Barrar‘s work? I see these as a possibly a cross into documentary and photo journalism. Marti Friedlander perhaps spans this? Perhaps there is no difference at all.

My reaction to art is often emotional. Photography as an art form is the perfect illustration of art being a way of seeing the world through another’s eyes.  Maybe my issue with more documentary type photos is that it is just what my eye might see, the more artistic photography is something I might never see for myself…I am not sure if that makes any sense. Also all the artists I have mentioned have a great range and there is no defining them really.

I was thinking about Anne Noble’s “In the Presence of Angels” series last week too. I like the blurring of definitions and realities there. Maybe this series appeals because in my loud and busy life, the apparent calm and simple quiet of the convent seems very desirable.

Anne Noble. The Walled Garden of the Enclosure. 1989. silver gelatin print

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I heard Kim Hill’s interview with Peter Peryer last Saturday morning (audio here) and she kept asking him why?, why? does he take these photos. I’ve been thinking on this and wonder, does it even matter? Perhaps “What?” is the more relevant question.

In recent discussions about good/bad art some one said “What is the artist trying to do and do they achieve that?” which seems a more basic question. But do we even need to know that?

Kim Hill seemed concerned about why Peryer would photograph this chicken. I am glad he did – for it is unlikely I would see a chicken in this way. As I’ve said before a favourite photo is of whitebait but I am also very fond of this.

In art photography it has always seemed to me that the photographs enable me to see through another’s eyes. This gives me a hugely varied outlook – a new way of seeing. What might be interesting (and it may have been done) is to ask some top photographers to photograph the same thing or perhaps give them a theme. The variety that would come back would be amazing – I would expect.

In fact doesn’t all art provide us with another person’s take on the world? I am doing my best to get to Christchurch at the moment* so I can see the Christchurch Art Gallery’s “Big 3” shows – Ronnie Van Hout, Seraphine Pick and et al. These three contemporary New Zealand artists (and collectives) illustrate their world so different they are perfect examples of my point.

I have been taking photos lately of local scenes that artists such as McCahon have painted.  Even taking ‘artistic license’ into account, its interesting to me how differently these painters have seen the landscape – recognisable but not…I wonder if they were trying to make sense of their world by interpretation, as I am.

Milhouse Van Hout(en) – a distant relative of Ronnie’s (because I am trying to be good about not nicking images off the interwebs of artists’ work)

*Any donations towards travel expenses happily accepted

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I have been busily scattered and the health finally seems on the improve. Lots of interesting and quirky things about.

Saw this poem I Write in the Laundromat over at Homepaddock blog and liked it very much. It sort of ties in to an article I have been analysing for my studies – The Per/son Authorised: Married Women’s Autobiography and the Death of the Author, 1882 & 1992 by Tracey Slaughter around the Edmond family auto/biographies, which has been deeply challenging.

I also spotted this book about Maori Architecture on Beatties Book Blog which looks excellent. I was initially attracted by the cover photo of one of my favourite buildings.

Peter Peryer is blogging more regularly again which is great. I liked today’s rose photo – although personally I prefer Bantry Bay.

Have been having some great and some very inane conversations over at twitter with myself and other people (follow me @artandmylife). Great place for working out ideas. Don’t expect high level stuff from me though.

Am trying to think outside the box for employment options at the moment. Haven’t got very far though.

I am breaking my #1 blogging rule. My 6-year-old’s artwork appears on the Dunedin Art Gallery website – here (the brown owl at the top)

Finally, here is a photo I took in an alley near the Art Gallery.

Campbell’s Soup. P Dawson (2009)

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